Business

Record bookings at Airbnb as travel bounces back

Airbnb has announced record bookings as the travel industry recovers from the pandemic and hosts scramble to sign up.

The vacation rental company said it was “in the middle of our busiest peak travel season yet” and July 4 was its highest single-day turnover ever.

The US company expects record sales and earnings for its third quarter, which ends in September.

The number of listings increased by almost a quarter, in both urban and suburban destinations. The group secured 103.7 million bookings in the three months to June, a 24 percent jump from 2019.

Revenue rose to $2.1bn (£1.7bn), up 73 per cent from two years ago, and profits rose to $379m after a loss of $297m over the same period.

Airbnb said its strong performance was due to spending cuts during the pandemic that resulted in 1,900 layoffs and its “adaptive” business model.

The rise in host numbers may be due in part to a global decline in the cost of living, which has sparked a race by households to supplement their incomes.

Chief Executive Brian Chesky said: “The second quarter of 2022 demonstrates that we have achieved growth and profitability at scale.

“Our strength this quarter is the result of our ability to stay focused and disciplined while relentlessly innovating.”

Shares fell 7 percent in after-hours trading after falling more than a third since the start of the year.

During the quarter, the company shut down its China branch due to the “costly and complex challenges of operating in the country,” compounded by the zero-Covid policy and ongoing lockdowns. All listings in the region were removed in July.

It unveiled an alternative to the default search option in May in hopes of offering a solution to overtourism, which critics say it helped solve.

The homepage now shows a series of destinations suggested to users, who can still search by destination and date if they wish.

In its most recent financial update, the company raised its outlook for its summer quarter as it hoped travel would return to pre-pandemic levels.

Bookings in the first quarter had exceeded 2019 figures for the first time since the spread of Covid-19.

It comes as authorities in the UK are cracking down on short-term holiday rentals, including on sites like Airbnb.

Earlier this week, the Scottish Government approved plans to control Edinburgh rentals and force Airbnb hosts to apply for a license to rent their properties.

Last month the Welsh Government announced a similar measure alongside a cap on the number of second homes.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/02/record-bookings-airbnb-travel-bounces-back/ Record bookings at Airbnb as travel bounces back

Russell Falcon

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